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Bi-modal hydrogen train on track for further tests

FCH2Rail consortium enters new stage with intensive testing in Spain
14/06/2023
The FCH2Rail demonstration train using a fuel cell hybrid power pack, has been put to the test on a high-altitude public line in Spain. The train gets its electric power from the overhead line when that is available. When not, it switches to using Toyota hydrogen fuel cells.

The first hydrogen train on the Spanish railway network

Along the Zaragoza-Canfranc line in the Spanish Pyrenees, the FCH2Rail demonstration hydrogen train using a bi-modal drive system has completed a first successful test run. It was on a demanding line with steep gradients, which challenged the new power generation system. On the electrified parts of this line the train ran in full-electric mode. On the non-electrified parts, the train operated in hybrid mode, combining energy from hydrogen fuel cells and batteries. This is thanks to the fuel cell hybrid power pack with its six Toyota Fuel Cell Modules with 2nd generation technology.

Tougher trials lie ahead

The train has received further authorisation to test the new technology in a wide range of power and energy demand conditions that more closely simulate different commercial services. The train will therefore circulate on different lines of the Spanish network, mainly in Aragon, Madrid and Galicia, under challenging climatic and operating conditions. This will allow a more complete evaluation of the new on-board technology that seeks to provide a sustainable alternative to conventional diesel traction currently used on many lines.  

A train with many partners

The hydrogen train is part of the FCH2Rail Consortium, a project that started in early 2021 and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2024. The consortium includes Spanish companies Renfe Operadora, Adif, CAF and Centro Nacional de Hidrógeno; the Portuguese IP (Infrastructures of Portugal); Germany's DLR and STT; and Toyota Motor Europe, providing integration support for the fuel cell modules. It is partly funded by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership of the European Commission. Also involved are: Iberdrola (green hydrogen), Shie-Arpa (a high-pressure H2 dispensing solution), and Ercros (green H2 for mobility applications).
FCH2Rail Website (Opens in new window)